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Worldwide Birding Tours - Birding Ecotours





An adult Shy Albatross (Thalassarche cauta)

An adult Shy Albatross (Thalassarche cauta)

 

Pelagic Birding is a rather specific ‘art’ or aspect of birding, and it basically refers to an ocean-going trip taken on a boat in search of true ocean-going species, such as albatrosses, petrels, shearwaters, storm petrels, etc. This is usually done as a day trip but can be slightly longer. These species are almost never seen from land (except during extreme conditions when they get blown close to shore), and in order to see them one has to travel out into the ocean. Due to the rather unpredictable nature of the weather and sea conditions on the day itself, each pelagic excursion is scheduled over two days, with the second day acting as a backup.

Pelagic birding offers some of the most exciting birding out there – as one quite simply never knows what will turn up! These species are known to travel vast distances in search of food and spend the vast majority of their lives out at sea, traversing the world’s oceans. The possibilities can literally be anything! The sight alone of these unique birds with their incredible flying skills and aerial prowess is quite simply awe-inspiring, and they leave us marveling at their capabilities time after time.

The port city, Cape Town, off South Africa’s south-western coast, is world-renowned for its pelagic birding. This is due to the rich waters located off Cape Town resulting from the meeting of the Benguela and Agulhas currents. This quite simply attracts a large number of fish and, in turn, the many pelagic species that feed on these fish. This whole process is augmented by the many fishing vessels operating in these waters, which attract even more birds. Birding Ecotours now run regular scheduled pelagic birding trips off Cape Town, and we will soon start arranging pelagic outings in other Southern African destinations (such as Inhambane in Mozambique, Durban and Port Elizabeth in South Africa, and Walvis Bay in Namibia), and also in other parts of the world such as off Lima along the Peruvian coast and off the USA, Australia, and New Zealand.

 

A White-chinned Petrel (Procellaria aequinoctialis)

A White-chinned Petrel (Procellaria aequinoctialis)

 

Antarctic Prion (Pachyptila desolata) ‘walking on water’

Antarctic Prion (Pachyptila desolata) ‘walking on water’

 

Great-winged Petrel (Pterodroma macroptera)

Great-winged Petrel (Pterodroma macroptera)

 

Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross (Thalassarche carteri)

Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross (Thalassarche carteri)

 

There are some seasonal differences during pelagics, and the austral summer brings in a few northern hemisphere species, such as Cory’s and Great Shearwaters, European Storm Petrel, etc., while the austral winter brings in many of the true Antarctic species from further south, such as Antarctic Prion, Cape Petrel, etc. One can experience a great day out at sea during any time of the year; however, the most productive months must be the period ranging from June/July through October. Here the regular frontal systems from the south bring in many rare and ‘exotic’ species from further afield, and the waters off Cape Town are regularly packed with thousands of birds – a true sight to behold!

 

Cape Petrel (Daption capense) is predominantly found during the austral winter

Cape Petrel (Daption capense) is predominantly found during the austral winter

 

Great Shearwater (Puffinus gravis) is predominantly a passage species (Sep – Oct; Apr – May) but also is present in small numbers during the austral summer months

Great Shearwater (Puffinus gravis) is predominantly a passage species (Sep – Oct; Apr – May) but also is present during the austral summer months

 

Cory’s Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea) is present in the austral summer.

Cory’s Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea) is present in the austral summer

 

Black-browed Albatross (Thalassarche melanophris) is present throughout the year

Black-browed Albatross (Thalassarche melanophris) is present throughout the year

 

Shy Albatross (Thalassarche cauta) is present throughout the year

Shy Albatross (Thalassarche cauta) is present throughout the year

 

The austral winter months are better for the ‘great’ albatrosses, like this Northern Royal Albatross (Diomedea sanfordi)

The austral winter months are better for the ‘great’ albatrosses, like this Northern Royal Albatross (Diomedea sanfordi)

 

The prized Wandering Albatross (Diomedea exulans) is one of the most sought-after species

The prized Wandering Albatross (Diomedea exulans) is one of the most sought-after species

 

Our upcoming schedule for 2017 is as follows:

  • 29/30 April — 4 places remaining
  • 27/28 May
  • 10/11 June
  • 15/16 July
  • 19/20 August
  • 16/17 September
  • 14/15 October
  • 18/19 November

 

For more information on these pelagic outings, please click on the link below:

Information Cape Pelagic Trip

 

Seasonality Table (click to enlarge):

Seasonality table.xlsx


India Birding Tours

Joining a birding tour in India, a vast country twice the size of South Africa, should be on any birder’s wish list! The country shares borders with Pakistan to the west, China and Nepal to the north, Bhutan  to the northeast, and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east.  Sri Lanka lies to the south, the Maldives to the southwest, and Indonesia to the southeast of India in the Indian Ocean. India is the seventh-largest country in the world by area and, with over a billion people, is second only to China in population, although its much higher birthrate makes it likely to reach pole position in less than ten years. It is an extremely diverse country, with vast differences in geography, climate, culture, language, and ethnicity across its expanse, and prides itself on being the largest democracy on Earth.

Lesser Adjutant

Birding Tour India: Bhutan Extension - Assam November 2017

Duration: 8 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 6
Date Start: November 12, 2017
Date End: November 19, 2017
Tour Start:: Guwahati, India
Tour End:: Guwahati, India
Price: $2628 per person sharing
Summary: This extension to our 12-day Bhutan tour will lead to the Indian province of Assam, home to two magnificent national parks for us to visit: Kaziranga NP and Nameri NP. Either of these parks may allow us a ...

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Velvet-fronted Nuthatch - Martin Benadie

Birding Tour India: The North - Tigers and Birds October 2017

Duration: 15 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 8
Spaces Available:: 6
Date Start: October 15, 2017
Date End: October 29, 2017
Tour Start:: New Delhi
Tour End:: New Delhi
Price: US$5733 per person sharing
Summary: India, with its fabulous scenery, incredible wildlife, fascinating culture, and wonderful monuments must truly be on any world-birder’s wish list! Our tour will lead, in addition to visiting both the mag...

See full tour detail
Velvet-fronted Nuthatch - Martin Benadie

Birding Tour India: The North - Tigers and Birds January 2018

Duration: 15 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 8
Spaces Available:: 4
Date Start: January 08, 2018
Date End: January 22, 2018
Tour Start:: New Delhi
Tour End:: New Delhi
Price: US$6478 per person sharing
Summary: India, with its fabulous scenery, incredible wildlife, fascinating culture, and wonderful monuments must truly be on any world-birder’s wish list! Our tour will lead, in addition to visiting both the mag...

See full tour detail
Birding Tour India - Lesser Adjutant

Birding Tour India: Bhutan Extension - Assam April 2018

Duration: 8 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 6
Date Start: April 13, 2018
Date End: April 20, 2018
Tour Start:: Guwahati, India
Tour End:: Guwahati, India
Price: US$2970 per person sharing
Summary: This extension to our 20-day Bhutan tour will lead to the Indian province of Assam, home to two magnificent national parks for us to visit: Kaziranga NP and Nameri NP. Either of these parks may allow ̵...

See full tour detail
Lesser Adjutant

Birding Tour India: Bhutan Extension - Assam November 2018

Duration: 8 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 6
Date Start: November 12, 2018
Date End: November 19, 2018
Tour Start:: Guwahati, India
Tour End:: Guwahati, India
Price: $2970 per person sharing
Summary: This extension to our 12-day Bhutan tour will lead to the Indian province of Assam, home to two magnificent national parks for us to visit: Kaziranga NP and Nameri NP. Either of these parks may allow us a ...

See full tour detail
Velvet-fronted Nuthatch - Martin Benadie

Birding Tour India: The North - Tigers and Birds October 2018

Duration: 15 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 8
Date Start: October 15, 2018
Date End: October 29, 2018
Tour Start:: New Delhi
Tour End:: New Delhi
Price: US$6478 per person sharing
Summary: India, with its fabulous scenery, incredible wildlife, fascinating culture, and wonderful monuments must truly be on any world-birder’s wish list! Our tour will lead, in addition to visiting both the mag...

See full tour detail
Asian Barred Owlet

Owls of India: Forest Owlet and More

Tour Start:: India
Tour End:: India
Summary: The vast subcontinent of India has a fantastic array of Owls, from the Himalayan foothills, where the forested slopes hold species like Mountain and Collared Scops Owl as well as Grey Nightjar, to the lowe...

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What our clients say

As for Mark’s guiding abilities I thought he was superb leader! Mark is thoroughly familiar with the Western Cape South Africa area, all of its birds, and all of it mammals (even the whales we saw from a couple of sites)! Mark is fluent in both English and Afrikaans. He knew all the owners of the lodges we stayed in. He knew all the birding sites throughout the area from national parks, to city gardens, to mountain passes, to desert scrub to sewage ponds! With one exception (the elusive Ground Woodpecker) Mark’s guiding led us to see all the birds billed in our trip itinerary. He also knew where there were some really good restaurants! He was a big help to some of our party that stayed some extra time in Cape Town. I would certainly take another tour with Mark.

John J. Collins Raritan, NJ



We can run any of our tours privately any time and we can also arrange custom itineraries - send us your wish-list and we'll put the itinerary together! Please click here.

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